Maintaining Company Culture in a Remote Workplace
Many companies have made a permanent switch to some version of the work from home model, whether it be shifting once fulltime office positions to fully remote opportunities or implementing a hybrid model. While employees are enjoying their new reduced commutes and increased flexibility, organizations have concerns that providing a flexible remote workplace means losing the company culture they have worked so hard to build.
Luckily, having a remote workplace doesn’t have to mean losing your company culture. Maintaining company culture requires the same level of intentional action as continuing your culture in person — it just requires a new way of thinking, as well.
Connect with your people
It’s easy to take the time to connect with your employees when it’s as simple as walking around the office to get a few minutes of facetime. It can be much more difficult when you aren’t seeing your team members in person on a regular basis — even more so when we’ve all mastered the art of emailing so effectively.
Despite how easy it can be to exchange information digitally, it’s important to still take the time to have meaningful conversations with your team. In the last year, digital meeting platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams have blown up in popularity, and for good reasons. Take advantage of these platforms to get some virtual facetime and actual conversations in with your employees. Even if you’re only scheduling a quick 1:1 once every week or so, it will make a difference in how connected your employees feel to you and the organization.
Continue to build camaraderie among your team members
Building a sense of connection amongst your team members often feels easier in person, but it can be manageable remotely if you’re utilizing the right tools and prioritizing time to allow your employees to connect. Before the pandemic, many organizations put resources and time toward team lunches, outings, volunteer opportunities, happy hours, and the like. Once the workforce went remote, those opportunities vanished.
With technology, staying connected is easier than it ever has been. From virtual lunches and happy hours to virtual games, it’s definitely possible to foster bonds with your team members. You can also ask your employees to come in once every month or so for a team lunch, outing, or game during the workweek to keep those bonds strong. Regardless of the method, it’s most important that your team knows that camaraderie is important to you as a leader and that you allow them time to connect with each other accordingly.
Emphasize your company values
Company values are most easily demonstrated through a leader’s actions, and that remains true in a remote workplace. For example, say an organization values collaboration and used to have a quarterly brainstorm session where all team members came together to discuss difficult projects or ways to improve company processes. If those brainstorms came to a halt once the organization shifted to a remote workforce, employees, both new and old, probably have their doubts about how much that organization truly values collaboration.
It’s one thing to say you value something, but it’s another to demonstrate that you value something through your actions and priorities. Think about your company values, how you used to demonstrate them and how you’re demonstrating them now that your workforce is remote. If there are inconsistencies and no signs of improvement, take some time to brainstorm how you might showcase those values in a new way.
Be open to input
Nobody knows what’s working and what isn’t within an organization better than its employees. As you make the shift toward a remote workforce, keep your ears open and actively seek the opinions of your employees that are affected. They’ll have valuable information to share, and even the act of asking them for feedback will enforce the kind of positive culture you’re looking to promote in the new remote environment.
Interested in learning more building up your remote culture? Reach out here for a complimentary coaching session today!